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Silkwood (1983)

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Any smarty-pants negativists who feel the need to take a verbal potshot at the entertainment legend who is Cher will bite their naysaying tongues after watching that cherished treasure’s gut-gripping and authentically amazing performance as Dolly Pelliker, a working-class broad under duress, in Silkwood (1983). More pertinent every year that passes since its initial release, this powerful pic has the truth of a documentary and the drama of a Shakespearian tragedy all wrapped into one moving movie. Based on Howard Kohn’s non-fiction book Who Killed Karen Silkwood?, the Mike Nichols thriller follows the fate of the titular whistle blower and labor union activist. While investigating a radiation poisoning at the Kerr-McGee plutonium plant, Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep) winds up being killed in a car crash. Sounds fishy to us. On the upside, Meryl and Cher received acting nominations from the Academy Awards, the British Academy Film Awards, and the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Streep was also named Best Actress at the Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards, while Cher won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Ironically, it’s Meryl who shows off her golden globe when her character flashes a co-worker at the 24-minute mark. Later, we’re treated to a view of Sudie Bond’s nude boobs. As a nuclear plant worker, Sudie is scrubbed down in the shower after a spill. No wonder the AFI ranks this biopic at #66 on its “100 Years...100 Cheers” list. But considering the skin on the comely cast, Silkwood is #1 with us!